Mary Tractor Reaches Dunnet Head

Well-known Cornwall Air Ambulance fundraiser Mary Phillips has reached the most northerly point of the British mainland.

On 30th June, 'Mary Tractor' set off from Land’s End to drive her 1953 Field Marshall tractor almost 1,000 miles at a sedate speed of 9mph in aid of Cornwall Air Ambulance and Devon Air Ambulance. She reached Dunnet Head on 17th July.

Dunnet Head is the most northerly point on the British mainland, around 10 miles north of John O’Groats, the usual terminus for end-to-end journeys.

Susie Smith, head of fundraising at Cornwall Air Ambulance said: “Mary has long been a fantastic fundraiser for Cornwall Air Ambulance, and keeps amazing us with new ways of keeping our lifesaving helicopter flying.”

In 2012, Mary raised £15,000 to be split between the Cornwall and Devon air ambulances by driving her 1953 Field Marshall Series 3A tractor from John O' Groats to Lands End - a distance of over 950 miles at a sedate 9 miles per hour. The whole journey took Mary 17 days, during which she celebrated her 72nd birthday!

"Years ago when my mother was ill the air ambulance was called in," explained Mary. "I decided afterwards to do my best to help support it. It's such an important service in our rural areas.

"I have been raising money as far back as I can remember. Last year was such a wonderful experience and I was so proud to be able to do it. It was just a shame it rained so much, practically the whole way!”

Mary and her tractor 'Fran' have become something of fundraising legends in the southwest, having raised over £30,000 for Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust and Devon Air Ambulance since she started her fundraising efforts around 4 years ago.

This year, Mary has come up with an exciting new way of fundraising after Richard Bardwill from Holsworthy donated a 1955 Ferguson tractor for Mary to raffle off. Tickets will cost £1, and there are other prizes which will take up a little less room, including a beautiful dolls house. The draw will take place on Tuesday 17th September, 12 noon at Hatherleigh Cattle Market.